On the 27th August of 2010, after more than twenty years of agitation, state-sponsored violence, political chicanery and constitutional lawfare, Kenya promulgated a new constitution. From the Ufungamano House Initiative, to the Ghai Commission to the Committee of Experts, Kenyans were determined to remake the constitutional framework to recognise and respect the will of the people. It was not our wish to repackage an avaricious political class with new titles and new offices. It is for this reason that we must acknowledge the tragic out-of-time-ness of Raila Odinga's determined push for political relevance by seeking a new government sinecure in the form of Office of the Leader of the Official Opposition courtesy of a BBI-like constitutional amendment.
Uhuru Kenyatta and Raila Odinga attempted to pull the wool over Kenyans' eyes with the Building Bridges Initiative that suffered catastrophic blows from the Judiciary. Even with the weak-toast face-saving by the Supreme Court, BBI was not supported, could not be supported, by the people. Its proposals should have received far better critical review, but because of the underhanded way that the entire enterprise was undertaken, only the politicians who stood to gain invested time, energy and scarce public resources to achieving the objects of BBI, including the creation of new offices designed, it seemed, solely to accommodate unsuccessful election candidates.
Mr Odinga lost the 2022 general election by repeating the same mistakes that were made when prosecuting the BBI programmes. But, I fear, he has not taken any lessons from his recent string of losses. He is banking on Kenyans' nostalgic fondness for his political battles of the past, especially the central role he played in agitating for a new constitution. Many Kenyans hold him in awe for what he did on Saba Saba and though they found it distasteful later on, they were appreciative of the rapprochement with Baba Moi that permitted him to merge his party with Kanu and his taking a cabinet position in government. His stint as Mwai Kibaki's Prime Minister was useful in dealing with the political reality of the presidential election that was stolen from him. When he attempted a similar gambit via the handshake with Uhuru Kenyatta, he failed and failed badly.
The ground has shifted significantly since 2008. There are fewer and fewer Kenyans who are willing to accommodate bloat in the senior ranks of the Government. Not in the middle of an unemployment crisis and famine. The Kenyans who were so optimistic in January 2003 have been browbeaten by relentless stories of senior politicians making out like bandits while the people they govern subsist on empty promises of development, free public services and social security for all. Lightning does not strike twice n a bottle and it is why BBI was fiasco and whatever accommodations Mr Odinga attempts with President Ruth will suffer the same ignominious fate.
Only politicians want a Prime Minister. Most Kenyans don't. Certainly, young Kenyans are only concerned about the savage cost of living. They want jobs that guarantee a comfortable life. They want social services that grant them the opportunity to found their own families and watch their children thrive and flourish. They are not interested in sustaining the exorbitant lifestyles of over-the-hill failed politicians. In the words of Ekuru Aukot, "Punda amechoka."